Two years ago, LeBron James and Chris Bosh came to Miami and joined Dwyane Wade. They promised Heat fans a championship celebration.
Despite a few setbacks along their way, they finally delivered.
The celebration for the Miami Heat's 2012 NBA Championship was marked by a two-mile parade route Monday through downtown Miami, which ended at the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets of Miami for the Heat championship parade while players and coaches were on double-decker buses taking photos and video of the massive crowd. Confetti fell and horns blared as fans danced, celebrated, and cheered every step of the way, with many fans lining up for spots along the parade route Sunday night.
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Miami won the title by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the series, 121-106. It was the second title for the Heat, the first of which came in 2006.
After the first title, in 2006, the last speaker introduced was Wade. Today, it was LeBron James, the Finals MVP, who had nodded and pointed to fans for much of the parade.
This is the first NBA title for James, who acknowledged the fans for most of the parade. James came to Miami after seven years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He celebrates in his second season with the Heat after they were disappointed in the Finals last year at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
Throughout much of the parade, Wade cradled the championship trophy in his arms and appeared to be overjoyed.
I appreciate all our fans for sticking with us, said Wade, adding, Best fans in the world.
After the team completed the two-mile parade route, the party moved inside to the AmericanAirlines Arena with an additional 15,000 fans cheering on the NBA's new kings. The arena setup much like it was for the event that welcomed James and Bosh to Miami to play alongside Wade in July 2010, but there was more to celebrate on Monday.
Music played for nearly an hour as fans danced and cheered before the lights went out in the arena momentarily - and someone brought the trophy onto the stage.
The NBA championship trophy was showered with white light and placed on a pedestal. Each Miami Heat player offered the trophy a different gesture.
Miami native, Udonis Haslem kissed it three times. Mike Miller bowed in front of it while Chris Bosh hugged it. LeBron James acknowledged the crowd once again as he approached the trophy.
It's the best feeling I've ever had. ... This was my dream, right here, to be able to hoist that Larry O'Brien Trophy up, hug it, grab it, never want to let it go, James said.
Afterwards, the Heat revisited memorable moments from the season including highlights from the NBA Finals against the Thunder.
The crowd was entertained as Juwan Howard did the Cabbage Patch dance, causing teammates to break out into uncontrollable laughter. The smiles continued as Mario Chalmers was asked about why James and Wade yell at him so much on the court, while a montage of their more heated moments played on video screens.
Player after player then spoke about how much this Championship title meant to them and how the fans contributed to the team's success.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra continued the sentiment, praising team's commitment, especially after Miami lost to Dallas in last year's final.
People from the outside, they criticized this group, this team, Spoelstra said. They counted this team out. But they never estimated how close this group was as a family. Every single one of these players had to sacrifice something, either money, opportunity, minutes to be a part of this team. And it was all for a moment like this.
Let's go Heat chants filled Miami on Monday with Bosh finishing the event by thanking both the fans inside the arena and those outside, saying that without them, nothing would be possible for the Heat.
It feels right, Bosh said. This is how it's supposed to be ... and I would like to do it all the time.